Just Three for Me! In Praise of the Humble 3-Speed
The Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub has a 186% overall gearing range.
The Shimano Nexus 7-speed hub has a 244% overall gearing range.
The Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub has a 306% overall gearing range.
The typical 7 and 8 speed hubs do not give you more than double the gearing range of the 3-speed. They give you more than double the notches to click, while the overall gearing range is only somewhat greater. The more speeds on the hub, the smaller the differences between clicks. This requires changing gears back and forth more frequently, just to stay in the same range as the 3-speed hub would give you with less clicking. This could be why I feel that with a 7 and 8 speed hub, I am always switching gears back and forth unnecessarily.